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CHEETAH CL-180 Powerful Bare Bulb Hotshoe Flash Released!
January 27th, 2013CheetahStand, Hotshoe Flashes, NEWSFlash Havoc 10 Comments

US based Company CheetahStand have release the Cheetah CL-180, a powerful new 153WS bare bulb hotshoe flash with Lithium battery pack and Remote Manual power control. The Cheetah CL-180 is the result of a collaboration between Edward Tang of Cheetah Stand and the Chinese manufacturer Godox, with guidance and input from our good friend and grass roots flasher, Dave Freedman (known by many as “tetrode” on the Canon forums). So its no surprise the Cheetah CL-180 has got a lot of things right from the get go. Many Strobist’s have been waiting for a good bare bulb hotshoe flash since the original Sunpak 120J ended production a number of years ago, and the CL-180 is looking like the first serious option to fill that void.

The CL-180 is powered by a lightweight and compact Lithium battery pack which gives up to 900 full power pops, at around 2.5 second recycle time. The Cheetah Lithium 4500 power pack has exchangeable battery packs (so you could have a few charged up) and will also power up to 2 regular Canon or Nikon compatible speedlites. Cords are also compatible with Quantum cords and packs.

There are option CL-TX and RX radio triggers available which allow remote manual power control from 1/1 to 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments from the remote radio transmitter unit.

There is even the option of High Speed Sync with a Cells II transmitter available for Canon cameras. EDIT – Now confirmed, this is FP HSS just like a Canon speedlight has. That’s right, High Speed Sync now available in a suitably more powerful compact hotshoe flash unit!

Cheetah CL-180

Power – The CL-180 is stated as 153WS power output (while Godox overstate a litte at 180ws for the same unit).  Guide number 60m (ISO 100, with the standard 28mm reflector). With some initial tests Dave has put that at around 1 to 1.5 stops over the power of a full sized speedlite like the Canon 600EX-RT and Nikon SB-910 etc, and slightly more power than a Quantum QFlash. That is some good solid power for a small unit, because it takes more power with a bare bulb to even match a speedlite. So you’re getting the even light quality of bare bulb, with power added .

Add to that a standard compact mount which accepts nearly all Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories, as well as a range of Cheetah Stand’s own accessories, which  include a standard 5” reflector, two types of snoot, folding 19” octabox/beauty dish, and a cleverly designed umbrella holder with dedicated reflector, and you have a pretty impressive compact flash unit.

 Godox WITSRO AD180 28MM Standard Reflector


  • Powerful 153ws GN 60m  (ISO 100, standard 28mm reflector) (this is the same as Godox’s stated 180ws)
  • 900 Full Power Pops – with the Cheetah Lithium 4500
  • Fast Recycle Times 2.6 seconds at full power
  • No overheating like speedlights – Fire more consecutive flashes without overheating
  • Wireless Remote Manual Power Control – (with optional CL-TX Radio Triggers)
  • 1/1 – 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments (22 adjustments)
  • FP HSS (High Speed Sync) with Canon cameras (requires optional Cells II transmitter)
  • Accurate colour temperature output 5600K +/- 200K
  • Flash duration 1/300 to 1/10,000
  • Focus Assist Light
  • Built in Optic Slave
  • Sound Prompt Beep (recycle ready etc)
  • Lightweight and Compact – just 550 grams – Lithium pack 540 grams
  • Modifiers available to attach directly to the flash head bayonet mount
  • Compatible with virtually all existing Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories
  • Removable and replaceable bulb
  • Professional Cheetah Lithium 4500 Power Pack with detachable battery packs (also see PB960)
  • Also compatible with the lower priced PB820 Nimh Pack


1/1 – 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments (22 adjustments). Also note the unique umbrella mount and matching reflector. The umbrella mount is also removable.

Cheetah CL-180


Optional CL-TX Radio Triggers provide Wireless Remote Manual Power Control. The receivers attaching to the side of the flash via USB port instead of the foot, which takes physical stress of that connection. 1/1 – 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments. The CL-TX are 433MHz, which is not generally what we want to hear (as 2.4GHz triggers have generally proven much better range and reliability), but Dave’s testing has shown range up to 500 feet (120 meters), which is clearly a lot more than the 20 – 30 meters maximum you would expect from any poor quality 433MHz triggers. The TX antenna likely does go a way to achieving that good range and performance.

Cheetah CL-TX

Multiple groups are supported, so a number of flash units can be set on different power levels all adjusted from the transmitter unit on camera. (16 channels available via the dip switch selection).

Cheetah CL-180


Ports are both PC and 3.5mm sync, USB for the radio trigger, and the battery pack HV port.

Godox Witstro AD180


A standard compact mount which accepts nearly all Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories (like the Sunpak 120j and Qflash use), as well as a range of Cheetah Stand’s own accessories, which  include a standard 5” reflector, two types of snoot, folding 19” octabox/beauty dish, and a cleverly designed umbrella holder with dedicated reflector.


Godox Witstro AD180 Modifiers



The complete unit packs lightweight and compact. At just over 1kg (2 pounds) for flash and battery,  the Cl-180 is much more light and compact than any monolight with added power pack.

Godox Witstro AD180 Packed


On-camera – the CL-180 is labelled as dual purpose, for on and off camera use. Though it is manual only even on-camera, which is limited compared to the Q-flash which offers full TTL (though at a higher price).

The Metal flash foot is single firing pin only, so the focus assist light is manually operated by pressing a button on the flash.

Cheetah CL-180 on camera


Specs -

Model CL-180
Flash energy 180WS
Flash Index 60 (m ISO 100, using a standard reflector)
-top use, the standard reflector flash covers the range of about 28mm
Up and down the angle of rotation -15 ° -90 °
Left and right rotation angle 0-270 °
Power supply Power Box (Cheetah Lithium 4500, GODOX - PB960, PB820)
Number of flashes 900 times (full power, the power supply box Cheetah Lithium 4500)
Recycle time Approximately 0.05-2.6s (power box Cheetah Lithium 4500)
Color Temperature 5600 ± 200k
Flash duration 1/300s-1/10000s
Volume 205 * 90 * 70 mm (excluding lamps and reflectors)
Net weight 550g (excluding lamps and reflectors)


So the Cheetah CL-180 is looking to be a very well though out unit with great features. That just leaves the all important question of price -


Price and Availability -

The Cheetah CL-180 and 4500 Lithium pack are available from February 28th.

The Cheetah CL-180 flash unit alone is $399.95
The Cheetah L 45000 Lithium battery pack is $199.95
The combined set with CL-180 flash unit, L4500 battery pack, and CL TX-RX remote manual radio triggers are $669.85.

The full listing with accessories are now listed  on the store.


When you start to weigh up needing a number of speedlights and battery pack/s to match this one unit in power and recycle. not to mention the added even light quality of the bare bulb, or the ability to fire off more shots without overheating,  the CL-180 starts to look very attractive. You can buy monolights for this price, though they can not match the CL-180 for small size and low weight (and HSS with Canon cameras).

There is a smaller compatible 2000mAh Nimh version of the battery pack currently available on Amazon from $112, though that would not have the same recycle and number of pops as the impressive Lithium L 4500mAh.

One thing is for sure, if you’re based in the USA Cheetah Stand is a great place to purchase from as Edward’s service is outstanding.


'10 Responses to “CHEETAH CL-180 Powerful Bare Bulb Hotshoe Flash Released!”'
  1. Frankinator says:

    Did they think to clone the Sunpak/Lumedyne factory warranty, too?

    Apparently not.

    • Flash Havoc says:


      Edward’s customer service is outstanding, I’ve dealt with Canon’s warranty department, and I’d have more faith in the personal service from people like Edward.

      This light was over a year in development so they have invested a lot of time and money in it. Using the common mount and bulb is a very good thing in my opinion.

  2. adrian says:

    I think it will be awesome. Having the QFlashes, TD5-R and the Trio which is totally not up to par in build quality, the mount for the diffuser on the Trio had broken out, small bits of plastic come away, the head near the mount now is held together with a garden zip tie.

    Also the foot of the Trio will not tighten onto my hotshoe any more, it’s totally sloppy. I now use it off camera using a metal hotshoe mount on bottom and have to allow for the ‘slop’ of the head falling a little when adjusting the tilt.

    I’ve only ever used manual off camera flash anyway.

    Also this flash looks so damn easy to change power, just rotate the dial; with Quantums you have to push a button to ‘set’ the power, then push up/down or -/+ on Trio to change, a pain in the butt.

    Then there’s the light to see on the Quantums. Sure the TD5-R light can stay on, but the Trio, I have not found a way to keep it on. Another PITA when in dark.

    This looks awesome.

  3. adrian says:

    Flash Havoc said: “One thing is for sure, if you’re based in the USA Cheetah Stand is a great place to purchase from as Edward’s service is outstanding.”

    Yes, I spent some time yesterday with a total of 12 emails between Edward and myself on various options of the CL-180, etc. and he answered each and every time within less than an hour, and I am based in Australia.

    Great PR Edward. :)

  4. Jim Cowsert says:

    Will the Cheetah Lithium 4500 power the Quantum Qflash?

    • Flash Havoc says:

      Hi Jim,

      There is nothing official stating it will, though you tend to expect most of these high voltage packs are designed to run on the same systems. The Quantum packs will power Canon/Nikon speedlights as will the Cheetah 4500, so you would expect they would both run the Qflash as well. Dave Freedman said the 4500 is working fine on his older T2 Qflash, and the Quantum Turbo SC is working on the Cheetah CL-180 flash unit. Thanks.

  5. adrian says:

    Well, I have received my CL-180 Combo Units, beauty dishes, C12 Air stand and 7in reflector and honeycomb grid sets.

    I open packaging [very well done btw] and was surprised at the battery, how light it actually was, and not only that, it was fully charged. Bonus!

    I have now had a play for 2 days, firing at various power settings, and am still amazed, after literally at least 200+ shots, I still see those beautiful 4 blue LEDs showing full charge. Wow.

    Quality: Makes my Quantums look pale into comparison, the build is sturdy, very precise clicks into positioning of head, the look, feel all add up to a great product.

    Power: Firing using just the normal 5inch reflector, no diffuser in place, full power, taking a Sekonic L358 meter reading 8ft away, ISO 100, shutter 250th, it read f22. Damn! That’s bright.

    LCD display: Beautiful, big bright blue and clear, sooo much better than normal speedlites, and once again, the Quantums pale into oblivion on this.

    I am shooting a wedding with it this weekend, and am looking forward to it.

    Oh, upon opening, I did not even read instructions, it was just so obvious took me less than 3 seconds to figure out what went where, etc.

    Cheetah Stand PR: As I stated above, I had lots of emails and more after that regarding the purchase since I live in Australia, so had to make sure I was getting what I wanted, but man, Edward goes over and above customer service.

    When I opened my goodies, I was blown away by the little white box included in the products with a hand written note on it thanking me for using and trusting Cheetah Stand and it was a 5 inch reflector honeycomb grid and set of color gels. *That’s* service.

  6. adrian says:

    Forgot to add, I love the ‘hotshoe’ idea, plus the fact it’s generic and will fit Canon and Nikon which means I don’t have to have a dedicated brand unit.

    The hotshoe mount to me is not a problem mounting onto a light stand, I just have the swivel adapter or use the Speed Pro Mk II Bracket, another product from Cheetah Stand.

    For me, this is simply outstanding value for money, considering a Quantum Turbox3 battery is the *same* price as the CL-180 Combo, flash, battery, radio transmitter/receiver items.

    Once again, quality is so great on it.

    • Paul Szilard says:

      Hi Adrian! I am in Sydney (Oz) so read your comments with added interest. Currently I have 3x Nikon SB800 with the Pocket Wizard MiniTT1/Flex TT5′s. I will investigate my options, re the Cheetah system. How many units did you buy?

  7. plevyadophy says:

    The one irritating problem for me with this thing is, by using the 433Mhz waveband it probably puts me out of the market for this product as I live in Europe and, as I recall from Pocket Wizard gear, 433Mhz is used in North America and some other jurisdictions whilst another waveband is licensed for use in Europe.

    I don’t consider any kit worth bothering with unless it is on the universal 2.4Ghz waveband which one can use pretty much anywhere in the world (just think of the expense involved in having to buy one set of lights for use in North America and then another identical set, with different waveband, for Europe!!!!!).

    Such a pity as this seems such a well thought out product.

    For a future update I would recommend two upgrades. Firstly, the optical slave should be made “intelligent” like the Elinchrom Quadra kits so that it can “learn” the TTL pulsing sequence of your on-camera OEM speedlight and can therefore by added to the mx in an on-camera TTL + off-camera manual flash set-up.

    The second trick they should employ is to take a look at the Nissin Universal Off-Camera Cord ( This cord has multiple flash pin contacts to ensure compatibility with numerous flash systems (they don’t mention Olympus and Panasonic or Leica, but Olympus and Panasonic use the same pin locations for their flash system as Canon, whilst the Leica flash system shares the same flash pin arrangement as Nikon). If the Cheetah manufacturers offered multiple pins on the foot of this flash (provided this idea/function is not patented) they could then at the very least offer an AF Assist Lamp system that worked automatically instead of relying on the more clumsy option of manually pressing a button.


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